UNICEF Report Finds Women Live in High Risk of Violence
According to a United Nations report released July 22nd women throughout the world face an unacceptably high risk of violence. Carol Bellamy, the Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), commented, "In today's world, to be born female is to be born high risk. Every girl grows up under the threat of violence…This chronic condition of violence amounts to the most pervasive human rights violation in the world today."
According to the report, approximately 60 million more women would be alive today were it not for gender-directed violence. The report also found that 25 to 50% of all women have suffered physical abuse from a partner. Some types of gender violence listed in the report include genital mutilation common in 28 countries, mainly Africa; "son preference" resulting in killing new-born girls or aborting female fetuses, mainly in Asia; dowry killings in India when a new bride’s dowry is deemed insufficient; domestic violence, in the United States where only 1 of every 100 incidents is reported; and acid hurling, mainly in Bangladesh. The report found that, of the world's 193 countries, only 44 have domestic violence legislation, 27 have sexual harassment legislation and 17 regard marital rape as a crime. Even in those countries where laws do exist, they are not necessarily enforced.
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .